Top gun: Poland inks contracts for F-35 fighters
Poland has signed a multi-billion dollar deal to buy 32 state-of-the-art F-35 combat aircraft from the United States.
The deal, signed in the eastern town of Dęblin on Friday, will add significant firepower to the Polish air force, and is one of the key purchases in an extensive modernisation of the country’s armed forces designed to get them ready for 21st-century warfare.
The aircraft, which come with a USD 4.6 billion price tag, will replace Poland’s aging Mig-29 fighters, and will help stiffen Nato’s defences on its eastern flank to deal with any possible threat from Russia.
Speaking at a formal ceremony to mark the signing of the contract, Andrzej Duda, the president, said Friday “was an extremely important day for Polish military aviation, for Polish fighter pilots, and for the security of the Polish Republic and area of Europe.”
He added that the purchase “significantly strengthens” Polish security and defences, and that it was a an important step in building a modern Polish military.
Georgette Mosbacher, the US ambassador to Warsaw, tweeted that she was “thrilled” to be participating in the signing ceremony, adding that a “strong US-Poland security partnership benefits Poland and the entire Nato alliance.”
The Polish air force should take delivery of the aircraft between 2024 and 2030, and the contract includes crew training and logistics.
Despite this the cost of the purchase has been questioned by some opposition politicians, who believe the billions of złoty could be better spent elsewhere.